What is so precious to you that you would wrap it in velvet?
This is one of the questions we ask in my first Story Forest Path, Little Red Writing Hood. Little Red earned her nickname from the velvet hood her grandmother made for her, because she loved her little granddaughter so much. I covered journals in red velvet for the writers who took this path with me, because their work is precious and should be treated as such.
This question has become particularly poignant in watching the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I lay awake last night wondering how you live in a war zone. Do you flee, do you hunker down? Are there guidelines to follow the way there are for earthquakes and hurricanes? (Are they the same? Shelter in place, move to safety when it is safe to do so, have a go bag and two weeks of emergency supplies?) What becomes precious in those few moments when your world changes completely?
There is so much we might wrap in velvet, if it would do any good.
So maybe a red velvet cloak cannot shelter your world. Perhaps we cannot stop the wolves every time. But we can let the precious things in our life know they are valued. We can try to carry as much of them as we can if we must flee.
It seems strange to reapply this to writing. But there are Wolves and there are wolves. What is threatens to devour your writing? What merely lures you off into the woods?
The Grove Retreat is one way of wrapping your creative self in velvet. We’ll be digging into an old tale—right now I’m thinking of “Vasilisa the Beautiful”— to ask these sorts of deep questions about our writing practice. Vasilisa’s is a story about a young woman who must trust her intuition to retrieve the spark of fire from an ancient witch. We might ask the question: What is the mother of your writing practice or your story? And see what we find. Or perhaps you would like to excavate the mythic bones of your own unique work?
Whether you are joining us at the Grove next month or not, I hope some of these questions might resonate with you, and take you deeper into your own Story Forest. You can start by asking yourself, what would you wrap in velvet? What color would you choose? Then go out and get a swath of heavy, rich fabric and wrap yourself in it, too.